Substance use and dependence have many short- and long-term negative effects on one’s mental and physical well-being. Upon consumption, substances disrupt the delicate balance of the central nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems as well as neurotransmitters in the brain. Many addicts initiate and maintain substance use to avoid the root of their problem, however, substance use and addiction often causes and exacerbates mental and physical problems.
On one hand, continuing substance abuse is destructive; on the other hand, cessation can be equally, if not more dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms can range from minor to potentially life-threatening and are often the cause of relapse and in some cases, death from overdose.
Why conventional detox methods work
The length and type of treatment depend on many factors; the patient’s physiology, mental and physical health history, and the stage and severity of addiction and underlying problems are all important considerations to keep in mind. Detox, treatment and recovery programs are tailored to provide each individual with specialized care to most effectively and efficiently deal with the range of underlying and co-occurring problems in a healthy, comfortable and painless manner.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that about 40 to 60 percent of addicts who attempt detox or recover on their own end up relapsing. Research has found that long-term sobriety is achievable through a professional, medically assisted detox and a combination of treatment medications and behavioral therapies.
Claims of Rapid Detox
Rapid, ultra-rapid, and anesthesia-assisted rapid opioid detox (AAROD) were developed to provide a quick, nearly painless and stress-free alternative to traditional substance detoxes which can last from a few days to a few weeks and almost always include a level of physical and mental discomfort in the form of withdrawals.
Rapid detox relies on a general anesthetic to sedate the patient for several hours while an opiate blocker instigates and expedites withdrawal. The decreased physical and mental discomfort lends to relapse preventions and long-term sobriety.
The Dangers of Rapid Detox
Evidence has concluded that rapid detox is not a viable form of treatment and that the benefits do not justify the risks. Contrary to the claims that rapid detox can help alleviate and even remove all withdrawal symptoms, pain and discomfort, NIDA has found that patients suffer withdrawal symptoms that are equally if not more severe and threatening than those experienced by patients treated with traditional detox methods. In addition, patients relapse equally, if not more, from anesthesia assisted detox. Rapid detox methods are also far more costly in terms of the initial price of detox and anesthesia and in terms of the additional and follow-up care and services.
A forced withdrawal and anesthesia have risks that are not present in the traditional and more commonly used medication-assisted and behavioral therapy services. In a recent study by the New York State Department of Health, all complications from the rapid detox resulted in hospitalization and in a few cases, death.
Risks of general anesthesia:
- Respiratory problems
- Drug reaction
- Brain damage
- Minor discomfort
- Injury to vocal cords, teeth or eyes
- Permanent organ damage, including the brain, heart or other major organs
- Memory dysfunction/memory loss.
- Awareness (being awake) during your surgery is a rare complication.
Rapid and ultrarapid detox is a costly and risky approach and offers no advantage over other methods. Any benefits of the procedure have not yet proved to be worth the risks. Buprenorphine, clonidine, and methadone-assisted detoxes are as effective as anesthesia-assisted detoxification and also are safer and far less costly.
Though there is no law preventing the use of rapid detox and similar practices, evidence has concluded that rapid detox is not effective or efficient, has no advantages over other methods, is not pain-free, and has a high probability/ rate of causing and exacerbating mental and physical problems and is potentially life-threatening.
If you would like more information on safe and effective substance detoxification programs, contact our detox specialists today at 877-262-6566.